G-7 leaders give USA more time on climate deal
U.S. President Donald Trump has told “confidants”, including the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave a landmark worldwide agreement on climate change, Axios news outlet reported on Saturday, citing three sources with direct knowledge.
Trump’s surprise announcement, in the form of a tweet on the final day of his lengthy worldwide trip, comes after Trump declined to commit to staying in a sweeping climate deal, refusing to give into intense global pressure.
While Trump emerged from the summit without a final decision on the Paris pact, he declared in a tweet Saturday that he will make a final decision next week.
President Trump rounded out his first foreign trip since taking office by joining other G7 leaders as they walked the streets of Taormina, Sicily.
Trump will spend Saturday at the second day of the G-7 summit in Sicily, bringing to an end a nine-day trip that started in Saudi Arabia and Israel before moving on to Europe.
Backing out of the climate accord had been a central plank of Trump’s campaign. At the Group of 7 summit in the coastal town of Taormina, leaders launched an aggressive, behind-the-scenes campaign to get him to stay in the Paris climate accord.
(AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli). From left, President of the European Council Donald Tusk gesticulates as he talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French newly elected President Emmanuel Macron, partially hidden, British PM Theresa May.
Friends of the Earth CEO Craig Bennett said Mr Trump – who once dismissed man-made climate change as a Chinese-inspired hoax – risked turning the USA into a “pariah state” unless he finally came out in support of the Agreement, which aims to stop global temperatures from rising more than two degrees centigrade and was accepted by his predecessor Barack Obama past year.
Trump boarded Air Force One without having held a single news conference on the trip – a break in presidential precedent that allowed him to avoid facing tough questions about his foreign policy or the raging controversies involving the investigations into his campaign’s possible ties to Russian Federation.
The trip has gone off without a major misstep, with the administration touting the president’s efforts to form a new coalition to fight terrorism while admonishing partners in an old alliance to pay their fair share. “Lots of very important matters under discussion”, Trump tweeted between events.
Gentiloni said climate was “not a minor point” and that he hoped the United States would decide “soon and well” because the Paris accords “need the contribution of the United States”.
“Many NATO countries have agreed to step up payments considerably, as they should”.
Only five of the alliance’s 28 members now meet the target: Britain, Estonia, Greece, Poland and the USA, which spends more on defense than all the other allies combined. But Germany, for instance, has been increasing its defense spending with the goal of reaching the 2% target by 2024.
The G7, urged on by Japan, also adopted common language against North Korea after a series of missile tests by the nuclear-armed nation. After the summit, the president will address American troops on an Italian base before departing for home.
There was no news conference on the schedule.
In addition to getting pushed on the topic at the G7 summit, the president also got an earful at the Vatican, where the pope presented Trump with one of his writings on the environment and the Cardinal secretary of state further raised the issue during a bilateral meeting. Anxious about Trump’s tendency to make things worse for himself with unscripted remarks, White House staff have kept the president a safe distance from journalists for most of the trip.